A good place to start with finding out if you are up to date with Modern Awards is to ask yourself these following questions:
- Do I know which Modern awards cover my business? You may have more than one.
- Do I understand how the Modern Award and National Employment Standards apply to my business?
- Do I have relevant employment contracts?
- Am I supplying the Fair Work Information Statement to my new employees? Am I acting on this before or as soon as possible after my new employee begins work?
4 interesting things about Modern Awards
#1: Modern Awards were introduced in 2010, along with the National Employment Standards (NES). These both set out the minimum requirements of employment covering overtime rates, weekend penalties, shift allowances, annual leave loading, redundancies and severance.
#2: Modern Awards cover all Australian employees working in the private sector (except in Western Australia).
#3: Modern Awards don’t cover Long Service Leave, which are covered by State-based legislation.
#4: You can vary Modern Awards by:
- An Individual flexibility agreement. This is an agreement between an employer and employee which may vary specified clauses such as working days, hours, overtime, penalty rates, allowances, and leave loading. Check your relevant Modern Award for the relevant clauses.
- A contract that relieves employers of their award obligation. The Employer must guarantee annual earnings, and this is usually done with high income employees. (2014-15, the high income threshold is set at $133,000 per annum).
- Your industry may be covered by more than one Award.
- As an employer, it’s your job to provide new employees access to the terms and conditions of the Modern Award. You must posting the award in a visible location or provide them with an electronic copy.
- Wage updates for Awards come out every July.
Even if HR isn’t your strong point, keeping up to date with Modern Awards is a great HR practice.